Phuket Island, a beautiful paradise island that boasts mountainous rainforests, white sandy resort towns surrounded by turquoise warm waters, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand. Bathed by the Andaman Sea, the iconic beaches here, along with the bustling nightlife, interesting Thai culture and tasty restaurant experiences, attract holidaymakers from all around the world.
Scuba diving in Phuket entails colorful coral reefs teeming with tropical creatures, encrusted shipwrecks, plunging walls and sites with sensational topography, like drop-offs, swim-throughs, tunnels and caves. Suitable for beginners and seasoned divers, there’s something for everyone here. Novices can take their first underwater breaths at easy, shallow sites, perfect for entry-level dive courses, while experienced divers will be spoilt for choice by the number of varied training sites that make advanced certifications an exhilarating activity.
Phuket has a large number of dive centers and dive resorts that cater to all budgets, from lower-cost backpacker-style operators, to high-end luxury resorts and liveaboard cruises. For divers, there’s simply nothing that’s unavailable. Dive trips take clients to nearby dive sites, such as those along the west coast, including Karon Beach, Kata Beach, and Patong. Day trips consisting of two or three dives are possible at areas slightly further away, such as at Koh Racha Yaoi and Koh Racha Noi, and even the Phi Phi Islands, which include Phi Phi Don, Phi Phi Leh and the Koh Bida Islands. World-famous dive sites like the King Cruiser Wreck, Shark Point and Anemone Reef are also great sites to explore. All of these dive sites are not to be missed if you have the time to get yourself on a trip.
At any dive site, you can expect to see all the favourite Indo-Pacific marine species. Hard and soft corals, sea fans and sponges decorate wrecks, rocks and reefs where eels and lobsters hide, while tropical species like angelfish, parrotfish, lionfish, anemonefish, stingrays, wrasse and many more are scattered around the seascapes. Schools of snapper, trevally and barracuda are fairly common, and adorable macro cuties like nudibranch, seahorses and shrimp can all be spotted. Turtles and reef sharks aren’t uncommon, and lucky divers might encounter a whaleshark.
Thanks to the tropical climate, diving is year-round, with water temperatures ranging between 28°C-30°C (82°F-86°F). The high season sees the best diving conditions and weather, and the most abundant liveaboards, which is from November to April. The rainy season from May to October can experience reduced visibility and choppier seas, but there are still plenty of sheltered dive sites to see, plus bargains can be had on diving and accommodation.